Why you should care about what they say

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By Louise Hudson, St Kilda Tourism Association              


Whether or not you like it, you can’t ignore online reviews.  With the internet in your pocket, thoughts and opinions have never been so accessible as now. Travellers are using online review sites more and more, and over 50% of travellers will now share their experience online (Tourism Australia Annual Report 2014). Not all visitors and guests will write a review but it is increasingly recognised that people are more likely to write a positive review than a negative one. That is more than enough reason to take the satisfaction of guests seriously.

So how to you use online reviews to your advantage for your business?  And do you really need to reply to them all?

Online review giant TripAdvisor attracts over 375 million users a month, and with over 5.2 million business listed, TripAdvisor is the source of trusted global advice, and an essential platform for a tourism business.

Sites such as these are free and very influential. It’s giving your product free exposure that you probably couldn’t otherwise afford. Each review posted online by a customer is a form of advertising for your business. Your name and product are exposed to readers, increasing their awareness of who you are and what you do.

Tourism Australia also say that in a recent survey, 50% of people would not book a hotel or restaurant if they did not have any reviews online. They would rather book somewhere that has a negative review, than one that has no mention. Risky? Research shows that consumers generally trust peer recommendations more than they trust advertising.

There’s no secret formula to receiving good reviews, although one successful business – St Kilda Sea Baths, revealed his secret – hiring great people. “Great people add so much value to a property, whether it be a restaurant or furniture store; a guest will forgive you (most of the time) for any slip ups or physical shortcomings, if your staff are kind and make a genuine effort”.

Another reason is your website ranking. Reviews can influence internet search engine results, and Google may take into account how many times your business name is mentioned in reviews. If you’re mentioned a lot of times, you may appear higher in the search result that a business that isn’t reviewed.

So yes, you DO need to respond to those reviews. Every. Single. One. Llewellyn Wyeth from the Novotel St Kilda said they respond to more than in 350 reviews every month. And they take time to look at them all, and look at each case individually which enable them to respond differently depending on the review.

St Kilda Tourism & Events is working with TripAdvisor to update the business listings and content for St Kilda and surrounds. If you need help with yours feel free to contact us on info@stkildamelbourne.com.au.

If you’re interested in becoming a member of St Kilda Tourism, please contact us on info@stkildamelbourne.com.au.


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